Songwriting Tips, News & More

Eight Reasons Why You Should Have a Co-writer

Posted by Jessica Brandon on Fri, Dec 08, 2017 @02:46 PM

[Songwriting Tip] Eight Reasons Why You Should Have a Co-writer

By Jake Gakovik

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Opinions about co-writing songs are very much divided—some love it, some hate it. Although a lot of songwriters frown upon the idea of working with other songwriters, co-writing is actually more common than you might imagine.

Take a look at the songs on any of the charts, at any given time, and chances are you’ll find that a lot of them are the result of a cooperation between co-writers. You will even see a lot of songs created by teams of 4+ songwriters!

Some of the most successful music of all time has been the creation of co-writing teams like John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, and many more.

If you’re still not if sure co-writing is your thing, here are eight reasons why you should give it a try. Who knows, the results could be chart-topping.

  1. Improve your style with new techniques and writing skills

Every songwriter has different writing skills and a different songwriting process. Sometimes this process works and your skills are all you need to create a hit song. More often than not, though, this is not the case.

In a lot of situations, working as hard as you can is simply not enough for you to write that one song that will help you make it in the music world.

Combining your skill set with another songwriter, who can also have a different writing process, can be good for you. Co-writing is a great chance for you to improve your own process by seeing how someone else approaches the same song and to adopt some new writing techniques.

Most importantly, if you find a partner with whom you can create a mutually-beneficial relationship, where you add value to each other’s work, you’ll be on the right way to success.

  1. Learn about your strengths and weaknesses

No one is perfect. We all have our flaws and skills, or talents we lack. Knowing that about yourself is a big step towards finding your voice and your style. Another way you could deal with your weaknesses is to find someone who excels in the areas you don’t and vice versa.

Working with someone else on achieving the same goal can also help you identify a character trait that you didn’t know you had. Your partner could play a big role in helping you work on that specific weak point.

Once you get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, you will see if you’re a good fit for each other and if working together will produce great results.

  1. Let your creativity soar and have fun

Writing your song is the fun part, especially if you’re working with someone else. Share the energy and excitement with your writing partner and it will definitely show in the song you create.

With high spirits, a positive atmosphere and good energy, creativity is bound to flow! If, at some point, you get stuck, just talking to your co-writer about it can help you overcome the block and get back into creative waters.

  1. Use a new set of eyes (and ears) to improve your songs

Say you started writing a song, but never finished it. There’s a number of reasons why this might happen, as we all know. Perhaps you just ran out of inspiration or you didn’t like it and decided to leave it be. Maybe you just got stuck and couldn’t finish it.

Try showing your unfinished work to your songwriting partner. They may have some ideas on how to finish the song and make it even better than you ever thought possible when you gave up on it.

This doesn’t have to apply only to abandoned and unfinished work. If you have a song you have finished but you’re not sure it’s good enough, ask your partner for feedback and maybe you’ll end up with a hit song.

  1.  Be accountable to someone else

No matter how responsible you are as a person, tight deadlines and time pressure can affect us all. Even if you mark you calendar and firmly determine the time when you’re going to sit down and write, something can always come up in the last possible minute.

By scheduling in time for work, you actually make a commitment and become accountable to someone else but yourself. This is a great way to keep yourself honest and dedicated to the writing routine. It’s much harder to avoid responsibility when you’re responsible for more than just your own work.

  1. Work half as hard and have twice the results

This is one of the practical reasons you should have a co-writer for your songs. However obvious this may sound, people often forget about the fact that two people working together generally need half the time and effort needed to write a song than it would take them if they were working individually.

Of course, that’s not always the case, but usually two heads are better than one.

You could also look at it this way: in the time you would need to write one song yourself, you and your writing partner could create two or more songs that are influenced by both your techniques and styles.

  1. Split the costs of your demo in two

This is another practical reason that people forget about more often than not.

When you and your writing partner are done with the song and you both think it’s ready to be heard by people, it’s time to create a demo. You have couple of choices here:

Either way, you have someone to split the costs with which gets you one step closer to getting your songs in front of relevant people and companies.

  1. More people will be pitching your song

Once your song is written and demo recorded, it’s time to start pitching. This is usually the boring part for most songwriters, but when you have a partner by your side, the work immediately becomes easier as there is now two of you doing the pitching.

It’s not just the number of people that matters here. Since you worked hard on the song together, it’s important to both of you that the song succeeds, which is why you’ll do your best. A great little bonus is that with a partner you have more contacts in the music industry and the ability to grow your network, which can certainly come in handy for any future work.

 

The truth is that co-writing is not for everyone, but unless you give it a shot, you will never know if it’s your thing. Even if you decide to do it, it could take some time before you find the winning combination of skills and knowledge in your co-writing partner. But when you do find a partner you connect with and that you can really work with, you’ll get to experience the happiness and satisfaction that only comes from putting a great song into the world. Just imagine what the world would have missed if, for example, Paul McCartney decided to exclude John Lennon from the songwriting process.

 

Jake Gakovik is a session guitarist, music entrepreneur, and co-founder of www.supremetracks.com, a professional online recording studio where you can get your songs arranged, recorded and mastered by award-winning music professionals.

 

Information on the 23rd Annual USA Songwriting Competition, go to: http://www.songwriting.net


 
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Tags: songwriter, song writer, song write, Song writing, Songwriting, songwrite, record label, music publisher, song demo, Co-Writing Songs, Plagiarism, Rewrite

The Songwriter’s Survival Guide

Posted by Jessica Brandon on Fri, Nov 03, 2017 @12:50 PM

The Songwriter’s Survival Guide
by Joe Hoten

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Song writing is one hair-tearingly frustrating, jump-out-of-your-seatingly exciting and air-punchingly rewarding pastime. That's quite a lot to experience from one activity, so if you're ready for that kind of roller coaster ride – one with plenty of loop-the-loops and vertical drops – then here are a few things to watch out for when you're penning your next number 1.

Humble Beginnings

Staring at a blank page can be like being lost on an Antarctic plain – nowhere to go, and no hope in sight. But, while being able to do absolutely anything can seem daunting, you've got to try and see the opportunity in it. Don't get carried away being overwhelmed by all the greatest songs ever written glaring down at you. Everybody goes through a little self-doubt now and then, but all it does is arrest your development. You can end up thinking your way into inaction. Just pick up your guitar and play. Or pick up your pen and write. Do, or do not. Once you've started messing around with a riff, a melody, even a single chord, the wheels will begin to turn, and you'll find yourself inching towards your goal.

Try not to discount anything before you've even done it. This is an easy trap to fall into, but it always comes down to this: you can't improve upon nothing. If you accept that a masterpiece isn't just going to drop out of your head onto your piece of paper, you'll find it a lot easier to rack up a respectable amount of 'OK' ideas that you can then hone and polish. A great idea can stem from anything – lyrics can inspire certain movements within your melody, or a particular chord could make you feel something that surprises you. Whatever it is that sparks that initial interest, run with it as far as you can.

Finding the Right Words

The music is a huge part of the emotionality of your song, but it’s up to your lyrics to convey your message literally. Keep them artful, rhythmical and true to your own character. People can spot a faker a mile off – say what you mean, and mean what you say, and everything else will follow.

Also, as tempting as it may be to flip things on their heads, beware of such tropes as writing depressing lyrics to happy music. It's completely possible to pull off, but equally possible to fluff up. That sort of thing is rarely so black and white as to simply swap out your majors for minors – you'd be going for more of an ironic melancholy that may best be saved for later. For the first few songs, pick the themes and vocabulary that do suit your music, just so you become accustomed to the effects such pairings can have. Learn how to roll before you reinvent the wheel.

The Great Plagiarism

All too often songwriters clap their hands together with glee as the final pieces of their puzzle fall into place… only to realise that the picture they’ve put together is strangely familiar. And that’s because they’ve unwittingly re-written somebody else’s song. This can be pretty soul-crushing to double check, but it's definitely worth it in the long run. No self-respecting creative mind would be at ease knowing it'd just regurgitated someone else's work, so you're probably going to have to carry on listening to as broad a range of music as you can manage. Sure, you'll notice trends reappearing across genres, and by all means use them for your own ends – but take heed of how they make you feel. If you notice a bunch of songs that sound the same and you find it a little tedious, it's time for you to buck that particular trend.

The Finished Product?

Is it really possible to know when your song's truly complete? Perhaps not when there always seems to be something else to think about. Is your melody hummable? Is the structure interesting? Does your verse flow nicely enough into your chorus? Is your word choice clear enough for your meaning? These are the questions that can keep you up at night. It's difficult not to become obsessive about every tiny little detail, second and third guessing every decision you've made, but at some point you're just going to have to throw your hands up and say 'that's enough!' When practically every note and every syllable could be different, sometimes you just have to go with your heart. After all, that's whereabouts your song's going to be felt when your fans hear it.

Phase 2

Now the writing phase is complete, congratulations are in order! Well done. And now for the bad news. You should probably prepare to want to change everything all over again, because now other people are going to hear your song.

Live It and Love It

The first thing to do is make sure you've learned your song inside out. This brings with it its own obstacles. Some say practice makes perfect, some say familiarity breeds contempt. In the context of learning songs, you need to find the happy middle ground. Learn it well enough so that it becomes second nature, as you'll be a lot more comfortable in front of an audience, and will hopefully develop a few muscle memories. But don't bore yourself to the edge of sanity either – we don't want a passionless recital from a robot who's fried their own circuits.

It’s great to try to test yourself – the comfort zone is where your creativity curls up and dies. By all means throw in a new technique you’ve been studying, go crazy with syncopation, make your rhymes and references as unusual as you like – just make sure you can pull it off. That’s what you wanted, after all. It certainly would suck if you vaingloriously flew straight at the sun only to have your wings melted off as you plummet into the sea of failure. Reading off your tablet doesn’t show the same degree of dedication as rattling off lines committed to memory, and fluffing up your carefully written solo probably won't win anybody over either. Prove to everyone you're serious about this – you're already been through the writing rigmarole, so you owe it to your creation. Let it live! Play it live! Well!

Rewrite the Wrongs


Once you've played your song a few times – and especially once you've written a few more – it's natural to start rethinking it. This is not necessarily a drawback. In a few rare cases, a song is just born immaculate – in which case, don't slap God in the face and change it! But as you learn more and more about music, you probably will start to think of choices you didn't make with your song back then as missed opportunities.

Revising your own work is a right and a necessity. Don’t get ahead of yourself and try to skip this stage – only once you have something to improve upon will you be able to see what needs to be improved. There’s nothing worse than rushing a song and allowing your fans and bandmates to get know a version of it you’re not satisfied with, then visibly tiring of it then making changes they may not take kindly to. This should by no means stop you road testing your song, because, especially if this takes place before trusted friends and peers, you may get the essential feedback you need to make the leap from good to brilliant. But you've got to play this hand carefully, and swiftly too – there must be a cut-off point between showcasing the idea and the big reveal where you actually decide definitively that it's as good as it's going to get. You can always move onto a new song, after all.

So there's a few little potholes you might encounter on your road to success. While a couple of them might slow you down, they're unlikely to stop you in your tracks. Don't be afraid of falling into traps such as these – if anything, trigger them for yourself. Do accidentally-on-purpose rip someone off, do write unfittingly upbeat music for your hard-hitting couplets, do stretch yourself musically and risk tripping over yourself in public. Like anything, it's a learning curve, and you'll probably learn best by doing it. Make mistakes, break some eggs, and realise none of these things are really going to hurt you, or mean that you're any less of a songwriter. In all likelihood, you'll be all the stronger for it.

 

Written by Joe Hoten, from Bands For Hire https://www.bandsforhire.net

 

Information on the USA Songwriting Competition, go to: http://www.songwriting.net


 
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Tags: songwriter, song writer, song write, Song writing, Songwriting, songwrite, record label, music publisher, song demo, Co-Writing Songs, Plagiarism, Rewrite

Top 10 Tips for Getting Sync Deals

Posted by Jessica Brandon on Tue, Sep 26, 2017 @05:26 PM

Sync Deals: Everything You Need to Know

by Steve Gordon

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“Don’t sign anything until you have a lawyer check it out!”
It’s a show business warning that is as valid today as it ever was. By reading the following article, excerpted from his new book The 11 Contracts That Every Artist, Songwriter and Producer Should Know, entertainment attorney Steve Gordon will school you on how to proceed, what to look out for and what questions to ask the next time a sync deal comes your way.

Signing the Best Sync Deal Possible
This article focuses on the use of music in audiovisual works such as movies, television, TV commercials and video games. I will provide examples of the amount of money you can expect to make, explain the role of Performing Rights Organizations in collecting additional income on behalf of songwriters, discuss the key provisions in standard licenses, and describe the role of publishers, sync reps and other licensing agents.
This article also provides comprehensive comments on the following three licenses: (1) MTV’s “Music Submission Form,” (2) a license for use of music in a TV commercial, and (3) a license for music in a television movie. If you get a similar deal, you will know what to look out for, how to make the deal fairer, and how to decide if it’s still worth it if the company that wants to use your music won’t negotiate.

Two Types of Copyrights: Sound Recordings and Musical Works
“Sync” licenses are agreements for the use of music in audiovisual projects. In its strictest sense, a sync license refers to the use of a musical composition in an audiovisual work. The term “master use” license is sometimes used to refer to the use of a sound recording (sometimes referred to as a “master”) in an audiovisual work. While sync licenses can only make money for songwriters, master use licenses can make money for both songwriters and recording artists. It is possible for a license to include both a grant of rights in a song and a master if the same person wrote the song and produced the master.

Copyright law protects “musical works,” such as songs and accompanying words as well as orchestral works, librettos and other musical compositions. Copyright also protects “sound recordings”; that is, recordings of musical compositions. Indie artists/songwriters who record their own songs generally own the copyrights of both their songs and masters. But once that artist/songwriter enters into a music publishing agreement, she generally transfers the copyright in her songs to the publisher, and the publisher pays her a royalty from the commercial exploitation of the songs, including “syncs.” If the same artist/songwriter enters into a standard recording contract, any record in which she performs during the term of the agreement is usually a “work for hire” for the record company. In that case (as explained in further detail below) the record company owns the copyright for the recordings, and pays royalties to the artist for both record sales and master use licenses.

However, in this article, we are going to look at sync and master use licenses from the point of view of songwriters and artists who have not entered into any exclusive publishing or recording agreements. Since an indie artist/songwriter does not have a publisher or label to negotiate sync and master licenses for her, she should have her own lawyer, or at least possess enough knowledge to avoid unfavorable contracts. Whether you are an indie artist, songwriter or producer, in this article, you will learn what questions to ask, what you can do to make the contract that you receive fairer and when you should just walk away.

Indie Producers and Copyrights in the Musical Compositions Contained in their Masters
Before the genesis of hip-hop in the early 1970s and the emergence of producers like Kool Herc, the role of producers was not to create music, but to help artists record their music and make it as professional as possible. However, that has all changed. In pop, R&B, and especially hip-hop, producers do create new music by providing beats or even complete music floors over which an artist sings. In that case, the producer is creating two copyrights: 100% of the sound recording and a part of the musical composition. Therefore, producers often sign publishing deals. The producer will generally have to transfer the copyright in any part of the musical composition that they contributed, such as the beat.

Sync and Master Use Fees
Companies that wish to use an indie musician’s music for a movie, commercial, TV show or video game often will offer an up-front, one-time payment generally called a “sync” fee (even if the songwriter is transferring rights in both the song and the master). The amount of the fee, if any, will depend on a variety of factors including:
• The professional standing of the musician: If an ad agency regularly turns to certain producers to create music for a client’s ads, it probably will have worked out a standard fee with that producer.
• The nature of audiovisual work for which the music is sought and whether the song was a hit: A major motion picture will usually pay from $10,000 to $25,000 for a song or master by an indie writer, artist or producer. However, the exact amount depends on how many times the song is played and if it will be used in the beginning or end credits (there is also often an additional fee if the song is used in the trailer). But, an indie filmmaker may only be able to afford $5,000 or less for any song or master. Don’t be surprised if they offer you no more than a credit. At the beginning of your career, a credit on the movie and on IMDB (an online database of information related to films, television programs, and video games, including cast, production crew such as music composers and musicians, biographies, plot summaries, trivia and reviews) could be valuable. In contrast, a pop hit in major studio movie can easily fetch $100,000 or more.
• The type of TV commercial: In the case of a TV spot, the biggest factor is whether the commercial is national (which may pay from several thousand to over $10,000 for an indie song or master) or will only play in one or several markets (which often pays less). But, for a hit song, the fee could well be in the six figure range and even more for a hit by a superstar artist.
• The type of TV program: Here, the most important factor is whether the program is network or basic cable. Usually, but not always, network shows will pay better than shows on basic cable. The money for an indie songwriter or producer could range from no more than the royalty payable to the songwriter by his Performance Rights Organization (see below) to $2,500 to more than $10,000 depending on how much the production company or network wants the music.
• Who owns what: If the master and the song are owned by different parties—for instance, if you wrote the song but your producer owns the track—a license will be needed with each of you.

Additional Income for Public Performance
A songwriter may earn “public performance” income from the songwriter’s Performance Rights Organization or “PRO” (i.e., ASCAP, BMI, SESAC or the recently organized Global Music Rights or GMR) when her music is “publicly performed.” For instance, a songwriter can receive money when her music is broadcast as part of a television show or played on a computer game. This income may be the only income that an indie songwriter receives, or could be in addition to the up-front sync fee.

Each PRO has rules that determine the amount of money that should be paid for a performance in an audiovisual work. The public performance income from a song in an audiovisual work can be substantial in some situations. For instance, if music is used in a national TV commercial that airs on network TV, the PRO royalty can exceed the sync fee. In contrast, when a small amount of a song is used in the background of a single scene in a basic cable program, the public performance income can be very small.

When the public performance income will be substantial, you may decide to accept a lower sync fee rather than potentially losing the deal altogether. Note that we are only discussing the public performance income payable for the musical composition. The same considerations do not apply to the owner of the master recording—i.e., an artist or a producer. Under U.S. copyright law, the owners of master recordings, unlike the owners of the underlying songs, are not entitled to public performance income for the broadcast of their recordings except via digital transmission such as Spotify, YouTube and Pandora, etc. If a commercial is intended to play on network TV, the commissioning company will generally try to get Internet rights for little or no additional compensation (see Media below).

SoundExchange, similar to the PRO’s for compositions, collects income for the public performance of music recordings, but only for audio-only Internet Radio services such as Pandora. The situation is different in most foreign countries, where artists can earn performing rights royalties for the “public performances” of their master recordings on television as well as standard broadcast radio.

In short, the owner of the master recording’s only source of U.S. income from the master use license will be the up-front master use fee, which she receives from the company for a TV commercial, movie or TV show. If the owner of the master is not the songwriter, he will not be receiving any public performance income from the PRO’s (or SoundExchange), so he may feel more of a need than the songwriter to negotiate the highest possible up-front fee.

Proper Registration of the Song with the PRO is Crucial
Each PRO has requirements that make writers responsible for properly registering their songs and for notifying the PRO’s of any audiovisual projects that may generate performance income. I spent a year trying to get one PRO to pay for the theme song of a cable talk show because the writer did not provide a “cue sheet” before the broadcast of the series. A cue sheet is a schedule of the music contained in a film or television program or any other audiovisual work and is essential for the PRO to distribute royalties for musical performances in audiovisual media. It is typically prepared by the production company, but the writer will not get paid unless the production company actually files it in a proper and timely manner. See below for an example of a cue sheet.

Some licenses require a songwriter to yield all rights in a song to the company. In that case, the writer has no right to receive any PRO royalties. However, there are cases in which the company requires the transfer of the copyright in the song, but allows the writer to receive the “writer’s share” of performance rights income (that is, 50% of the total amount payable by the PRO). In that case, the writer has to make sure the company is properly registering the song, providing cue sheets to the PRO and complying with any other forms that have to be completed.

Work for Hire vs. Non-Exclusive License
An issue sometimes even more important than money is whether a license is “work for hire.” In a work for hire agreement, the songwriter, artist or producer loses all rights in her music, including the copyright and the right to use the music again for any purpose. If, on the other hand, the grant of rights to the company is a non-exclusive license, the creator keeps the copyright in her music, and retains the right to distribute it as a record and make other deals. Here is a typical work for hire clause:

It’s always better that the artist, songwriter and producer retain their copyrights. However, sometimes the work for hire clause will be non-negotiable, and then the creator must ask herself: whether the up-front money (and in the case of a songwriter who retains the writer’s share, the potential PRO royalties) adequately compensates for the loss of the right to use the music.

WORK FOR HIRE: Artist [Songwriter and/or Producer] agrees that all of the results and proceeds of his services shall be deemed a “work made for hire” for the Company under the U.S. Copyright. Accordingly, the Artist further acknowledges and agrees that Company is and shall be deemed to be the author and/or exclusive owner of all of the Recordings and Musical Compositions contained therein for all purposes and the exclusive owner throughout the world of all the rights of any kind comprised in the copyright(s) thereof and any renewal or extension rights in connection therewith, and of any and all other rights thereto, and that Company shall have the right to exploit any or all of the Recordings in any and all media, now known or hereafter devised, throughout the universe, in perpetuity, in all configurations as Record Company determines, including without limitation [name of movie, TV show, TV commercial, etc.] In connection therewith Artist hereby grants to Company the right as attorney-in-fact to execute, acknowledge, deliver and record in the U.S. Copyright Office or elsewhere any and all such documents pertaining to the Recordings if he shall fail to execute same within five (5) days after so requested by Company.

Other Basic Contract Terms
Here are a few other important terms in sync and master use licenses that are not work for hire:

DURATION (or “TERM”): The company will usually want the right to exploit the following durations of use:
• Theatrical Films: Generally for the “life of the copyright.” In other words, the company’s right to use your music will last as long as the song is protected by copyright law, which is as long as you’re alive plus 70 years.
• Television: Generally, the same as above.
• Commercials: Typically an initial term of one year, often with the option for the company to renew for another equal term upon payment of an additional licensing fee (which is usually the same as the original term, although you can try to negotiate for a higher fee, for instance 125% of the original fee.)
• Computer Games: Could be “life of the copyright,” or a briefer term such as three to five years. There are few games which will have a life span of more than a year or two, so in most instances, the company won’t consider it all that important to obtain a long-term license.

MEDIA: The company will want the right to exploit the audiovisual work as follows:
• Theatrical Films: Generally, a movie producer, production company, or studio will want the right to use a song or master in festivals for one year, with an option to exploit the movie, including your music, in all media (“broad rights”).
• Television: Generally, the network or cable service will want all media rights because a TV show can be recycled in any number of platforms such as streaming, downloading, home video, etc. Talent should, however, try to negotiate a separate fee for home video including downloading.
• Commercials: Typically limited to TV and Internet, but the songwriter/ artist/ producer can try to secure an additional fee for use of the commercial on radio.
• Computer Games: Generally all media now or hereinafter developed.

TERRITORY: The company will want the right to exploit the audiovisual work as follows:
• Theatrical Films: Typically “worldwide.”
• Television: The creator may be able to negotiate an additional fee for foreign use.
• Commercials: Local, multiple U.S. markets, national or worldwide.
• Computer Games: Worldwide.

The Role of Music Publishers and Labels
Once you enter into an exclusive recording and/or publisher deal, your label and publisher will negotiate sync and master use licenses on your behalf. The split is generally 50% payable to the label and 25% to 50% payable to the publisher after recoupment of any advances (including, in the case of a label, recording costs) that they paid you.

Reps and Licensing Agents
If you are familiar with the “sync business” you know that there are many companies, such as Pump Audio, that may be willing to represent your music for sync placements. Some are more selective than others, and some are more proactive in shopping your music than others. For instance, music libraries such as APM Music (Associated Production Music Inc.) have steady clients such as cable networks and ad agencies that continually scan the library’s collection for interstitial or background music. The reps’ fees vary from 65% in the case of Pump Audio all the way down to 20% or less, if a rep really loves your music.

The biggest controversy in the sync licensing business is the exclusive vs. non-exclusive issue. The best argument to let a rep have exclusive rights is that they may be more motivated to shop your music. The best argument in support of non-exclusive is an exclusive rep may lose interest in your music and let it sit on a shelf for the duration of the agreement. The primary differences between a rep and a publisher are: reps rarely pay you an advance, but rep deals are usually limited to the song or tracks you wish them to present. Standard publishing agreements cover any songs you create during the term of the agreement.

 

[Reprint permission by Music Connection magazine]

STEVE GORDON is an entertainment attorney with over 25 years of experience, including 10 years as Director of Business Affairs/Video for Sony Music. He is also the author of The Future of Music, fourth edition (Hal Leonard Books). See stevegordonlaw.com.

 

 

Information on the USA Songwriting Competition, go to: http://www.songwriting.net


 
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Tags: songwriter, song writer, song write, Song writing, Songwriting, songwrite, record label, music publisher, song demo, MTV, Co-Writing Songs, Sync Deal, Copyright

Songwriting Tip: How to Keep Your Publisher, Manger, Agent, Producer & Label Happy

Posted by Jessica Brandon on Wed, Apr 16, 2014 @07:15 AM

How to Keep Your Publisher, Manger, Agent, Producer and Label Happy

By Molly-Ann Leikin, Song Marketing Consultant

Molly-Ann Leikin, hit songwriter

You’ve heard of the running of the bulls in Pampola?  When you’re famous, that’s exactly how people will stampede, tripping over themselves and killing their young, desperate to give you whatever you want.  They’ll take all of your calls before you even make them, answer your texts instantly, come to your parties, early, with cases of Cristal, and help your kids with their pre-school entrance essays.

Until then, while you’re still on your way up, and determined to catch someone’s life-changing ear, the job of making the population of your business entourage happy is all on you.  Period.

The good news:  your Publisher, Manager, Agent, Publicist, Label (PMAPL) can only make money when you do.  The bad news:  with sixteen hours in a work day, the bulk of their time is spent on The Guarantee.  If they represent artists who are making 18-wheelers stashed with cash right now, chances are good they won’t drop everything to put their team on your standby gig at Starbucks, North Eastern Outer Mongolia.  Know that.  Deal with it.  Don’t call and leave hate messages or deliver dead fish wrapped in the L.A. Times to their offices.  (Please note:  no fish, no newspapers.  That goes for all other dead protein, and periodicals, too.)

There are millions of talented people out there vying for your PMAPL’s time.  At this point, the person on the other side of the desk has all the power in your life.  Period.  Here’s how to keep your career moving forward, and eventually turn that all around in your favor. 

l. Set the ground rules with your PMAPL as to who will contact whom, and when.  Try to get a timeline commitment up front, so you don’t have to send the noodge mail, “R U shining me on or did U really die?”  Instead, suggest setting up a call once a month.  That’s fair and reasonable.        

2. Respect those ground rules.  When PMAPL’s start getting the “Where’s My Money” messages,  they will quickly lose interest and reassign your project to the back burner or the shredder altogether, preferring to work with professionals who respect other people’s time and priorities.

3. Don’t dump your drama on your PMAPL.  “Dude, my pick-up was booted, had to blow off my probation officer again, plus the kidlet is starting to look exactly like Arnold Schwartzenneger.”  You wouldn’t want anyone to lay that on you, right?  So only do and say what you would want to hear if you were on the PMAPL’s side of the desk.  Keep everything professional.

4.  Don’t try to get your PMAPL’s attention with ostentatious gifts.  You can’t afford the Bentleys they want.  At least not yet.  When you can, they’ll steal the needed funds, in plain sight, from your royalties.    

5. Remember that your PMAPL’s are your business partners.  They can only make money when you do.  Let them do their jobs for you.  Yours is to write/sing/perform, and attend every industry function, shaking hands, smiling, gathering business cards, asking when it would be convenient for you to call. 

6. Hang this on your fridge.

  © 2014 Molly-Ann Leikin  www.songmd.com  songmd@songmd.com

Molly-Ann Leikin (rhymes with bacon) created the Songwriting Consultation industry.  In the past five years, 6 of her clients have won Grammys.  Eleven more are Grammy nominees.  The author of “How To Write a Hit Song, Fifth Edition” and “How to Be a Hit Songwriter”, Molly is an Emmy nominee, has 15 gold and platinum records, taught songwriting at UCLA, and works by private consultation only.  She practices yoga, takes long, brisk walks and flosses, daily.   

Contact Molly for your Hit Song Marketing Consultation/Evaluation at songmd@songmd.com

 

For more information on the 19th Annual USA Songwriting Competition, go to: http://www.songwriting.net 

Tags: songwriter, song writer, Song writing, Songwriting, Molly-Ann Leikin, Song Marketing Consultant, record label, music publisher